Te Manawa, Dibble pay tribute to Ralph Hotere

TALIA SHADWELL
Last updated 08:48 26/02/2013
Ralph Hotere
Fairfax NZ
IRREPLACEABLE TALENT: Artist Ralph Hotere after receiving the country's highest honour, Member of the Order of New Zealand, in December, 2011.

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A rarely seen example of late New Zealand artist Ralph Hotere's work will be unveiled in Palmerston North today in memory of the "warrior artist".

Te Manawa will hold a special exhibition commemorating the life and works of the celebrated artist, who died at the weekend.

The gallery will be showing a Hotere piece last seen by the public in 2007, and more may follow.

His life and works will be celebrated by the gallery with a showing of his 1970 Black Painting from ‘Malady', based on a poem by Bill Manhire, composed of dye and acrylic on canvas.

Te Manawa has at least 18 other Hotere works in its backroom collection, out of public view for now.

However, Te Manawa assistant curator Catherine Hehir said the rest may also get an airing with plans for a Hotere retrospective being mulled, although many of his works had been shown as recently as February last year, when an exhibition ran to mark his 80th birthday.

The works owned by Te Manawa were largely bought around the 1970s and some in 1982, with the bulk of the works marking one of New Zealand's pivotal political events - the Springbok tour, Mrs Hehir said.

Palmerston North sculptor Paul Dibble paid tribute to a fellow artist he knew well. Hotere and Dibble first met in the 1980s when Dibble was an art student living in Mt Eden.

Dibble recalled a reclusive but welcoming man who made a lasting impression.

"He was probably one of the first icons of New Zealand artists in the beginning of the 50s and 60s alongside Colin McCahon, which was really the beginning of New Zealand art. He was the best of that and an inspiration to our generation."

Massey University's museum studies programme co-ordinator, Susan Abasa,said Massey had a number of "important" works in its collection, which had special significance because they were among the first works the university bought.

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- Manawatu Standard

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